Ed Bedington
Spar is set to invest £3m in a bid to boost its own label business, with an increased focus on the fresh sector.
The symbol group is calling on suppliers to support it to ensure the own label offering remains innovative, competitive and relevant to customers.
Speaking at the Spar Brand Supplier Conference this week, md Jerry Marwood said own label was a vital part of his business: "Around 20% of our sales are in own label, so those who say there's no place for own label in the convience market are talking absolute horse, and probably don't have an own label."
The company needed to continue to develop the business, he said: "With own label, our job is to excite consumers, so we stock products that are exciting and innovative. We've done well up to now, but we're going to do better."
The investment will help to grow the range through promotions and television advertising, supported by national and local press adverts.
Spar brand manager Anna Flash said they needed to let customers know the products were there. The company is also looking to improve its fresh offering by providing an interesting choice in ready meals, pizza and fresh meat, as well as the essentials like bread, milk and butter.
However trading director Tom Davies said they needed more support from suppliers for promotion. "Consumers expect a deal when they come into a store and Spar has been increasing its investment, but supplier investments have not been keeping pace."
He also urged suppliers to ensure their service levels remain high. "If suppliers let us down, then we're going to be letting the consumer down.
"New product development and promotional activity is key. We need the suppliers' help to develop the right products that meet our customers needs."

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